New restaurant sparks hope for development in southwest Metro

Reba Doutrick
Reba Doutrick
Deborah Koch
Deborah Koch
Chris Thieneman
Chris Thieneman

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After decades of trying to boost the economy in southwest Louisville, particularly in the Valley Village neighborhood, there is big news as we learn new businesses are coming to the area.

The national restaurant chain, Cracker Barrel, is preparing to move in to the area on Dixie Highway very close to the Gene Snyder Freeway, but there's more to come. WAVE 3 dug deeper to find out why the announcement means more residents than just a place to grab a bite to eat.

Since 1959, Reba Doutrick has called Valley Station home. Since then more than just her Swarofski crystal collection has grown.

"When I moved here, there were very few stores, very few anything," Doutrick said. "(I) had to travel to get to the grocery store. And now, there are stores all over."

Not far away, you'll find Koch and Company art shop owner Deborah Koch. Her store filled with the work of local artists. She's lived in Southwest Louisville for six years.

"In six years, there hasn't been much development in Valley Station," Koch said, "but in the last year, we've had a lot of changes."

Both women were there for another change on Thursday - the groundbreaking of a new Cracker Barrel restaurant on Dixie at the Gene Snyder, a multi-million dollar development project led by the Chris & Tom Thieneman Company. It took eight years to get to this point.

"It was the neighbors, it was the business leaders," said Chris Thieneman, owner of the Chris & Tom Thieneman Company. "It was all of us saying we want to prove to the national chains that we eat food out here in Valley Station."

Some in the area say they've felt passed over, even forgotten, because of where they live.

"There's a stigma about Valley Station, or about southwest Jefferson County that is uncalled for. It's unfortunate and it's wrong," Doutrick said. "That we don't deserve the good shops, the good restaurants."

Two different women, both hoping this action sparks change and growth.

"I think that this is going to help us fight the reputation that Valley Station may have and start just bringing more quality to this area," said Koch.
"This is great," said Doutrick. "We'll enjoy it. Valley Station will be better for it."

The Cracker Barrel is expected to open this summer. Thieneman expects this to bring many jobs to the area.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.